The Struggles of First-Generation Americans Applying to College

Sharon Flores, Staff Writer

From Sept. 1 – Jan. 1, many first-generation Americans at Brentwood high school will be applying to college. Some will even be first in their families to graduate from high school. Therefore, receiving a college acceptance is an especially important milestone for first generation Americans and their families.

“My parents played a major part in me wanting to apply to college because both of my parents didn’t get the opportunity to go to college,” said Juliana Chillogallo, 12th grade Sonderling student. “Hopefully it would be a big accomplishment to them seeing their only child being the first in the family to go to college and I hope that it makes them happy.”

Many immigrant parents tell their children at a young age that they should attend college. They inspire and drive their children to achieve their version of  the American Dream.

“My parents did play a role in my decision in applying to college,” said Crystal Flores, Ross senior. “They want the best for me and want me to be successful in life and have a career that they know I’m passionate about.”

According to an article entitled “Nearly 30 Percent of US College Students Come From Immigrant Families: Report” published on the College Post, only about 28% of students enrolled in US colleges and universities in 2018 were first in their immigrant families to attend college. The lack of children attending college is what makes it also something important to the immigrant families of these kids. There are already many students in Brentwood High School that are now contributing to this rising number making these statistics hopefully go up.

“I have applied to Suffolk, Farmingdale State College, and Stony Brook,” said Ever Galeas, Ross high school senior.

As these first-generation American students are now applying to college,  many new feelings have surfaced. Students have mentioned being excited about a new experience awaiting, others are stressed because they don’t even know how to start the process of applying.

“I applied to Norwich University, Mount Saint Mary, St josephs, and Suffolk Community College, and I’m not even done applying to colleges yet, I still have many more that I want to apply to and I’m very excited to see where I’ll end up,” said Chillogallo.

Some teachers have helped students fill out their common app and do their essays. On the other hand, there’s also students that have had no guidance along the way. The lack of  assistance to some students has caused them stress.

“I feel like school staff has somewhat helped me when applying to college,” said Flores. “I mainly feel grateful for AFJROTC because they take part of their time and lesson to talk about scholarships, financial aid, and how to apply to college.”

“I feel like school staff has helped me by motivating me to actually get on common app and actually begin applying to college,” said Chillogallo.

If you are looking for help as some of you are applying you could reach out to teachers and guidance counselors. Something that has been helpful is the college room located in DP. They can even help you out into looking for scholarships.